Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Full-Spectrum Gaming: 10mm WWII

In addition to roleplaying games, I'm also a big wargaming enthusiast. And while I've mainly enjoyed fantasy titles like Warmachine and Warhammer 40k, I also hold a special place in my heart for WWII wargaming.

For a long time, I was quite intimidated by all the different options available in WWII tabletop gaming. There are a ton of different scales, each providing subtly different gaming experiences. Do I want to play at the squad level or at the company level? Am I more interested with painting and modeling, or actually playing?

Ultimately I chose 10mm as my scale of choice, although there's no guarantee that I'll ever actually find a game group in Chicago that uses this scale. I prepared a brief treatise of sorts listing the key reasons why I chose this particular scale for my WWII gaming.

  • 10mm is quick and easy to paint. I'm handy with a paintbrush, but I'm also not interested in slaving away for hours to ensure that my German infantry backpacks are painted an appropriately historic color. Playing the game is more important. At the 10mm scale, each figure is about as big as my fingernail—so I can slap 4 or 5 colors onto each group of soldiers, hit 'em with some highlights and a drybrush, and be done in short order.

  • I got a great deal on my initial load of 10mm figures. For $50, I have a full company of German and Soviet infantry, along with support weapons like machine guns, mortars and even of couple larger artillery pieces. That means I'll be able to field both sides of an engagement—perfect for helping new players who might be interested in WWII gaming. It should all be painted in just a couple weeks.

  • I already have a ton of 1/144-scale plastic tanks that will work perfectly with 10mm infantry. This is going to save me a lot of money in the long run, as pewter tanks from game companies are both costly and take a while to paint. As it is, my 1/144-scale tank collection (comprising pieces from the World Tank Museum line and New Millenium Toys) will likely be all I'll ever need in terms of armor—and it's all pre-painted, some to a very decent degree.

  • There are several "scale-neutral" rulesets out there that can easily be adapted to the 10mm scale. I'm thinking specifically of Blitzkrieg Commander, which feels like a "classic" command-and-control wargame, as well as Crossfire, which presents an entirely new way of playing tabletop wargaming. I hope to play both using my 10mm armies.
I'll try to take some decent photos of the infantry stands I have completed and post them tomorrow.


Chris Kutalik said...

Glad to hear that I'm not the only WW2 minis buff closeted in these RPG circles. I've been trying to dragoon my C&C/D&D players into play-testing FUBAR, my own company-level rules for several months now with mixed results (at best).

I'm intrigued by your choice of scales. I haven't bumped into folks playing with 10mm, but you got my interest perked with all the talk about good, cheap plastic 1/444 tanks. I was always tempted to branch into a smaller scale (I mostly do good old 1/72 plastic) to be able to mount large-scale engagements. Maybe this will be the push!

Patrick W. Rollens said...

I have dozens of assorted 1/144 tanks and armor, all prepainted plastic, and didn't pay more than $3 for any of 'em. Even if you buy them only to repaint 'em yourself, it's still a bargain. I can't say enough good stuff about the 1/144-scale armor that's out there—10mm was the logical choice, and it appears that's gaining a small but sizable following on the net.

David Larkins said...

::raises hand::

'Nother one here.

I painted up some 10mm WW2 a few years back, but I ended up going with 20mm (and BKC for rules). However, I do have a couple 10mm samurai armies that are next on the painting agenda. It's a great scale.

Patrick W. Rollens said...

Yeah, I plan on investigating BKC. I may end up painting myself into a corner (no pun intended) if I can't find any 10mm WWII gamers here in Chicago. But hey, half the fun in miniatures gaming is all the fancy prep work that goes into the hobby.